Playback Lets You Create Your Own SportsCenter-like Audience with Daily’s Video Developer Platform
Growth in Creators
Under 2 hrs
Custom Video UI Implementation
3 Million +
Monthly Participant Call Minutes
IndustryEvents & networking
Powered by Daily Video SDKs, Playback Helps Everyone Become a Sportscaster
At every stage in Playback’s development and growth, Daily has been our critical partner, allowing us to focus on refining the experience for users without having to worry about whether our video chat solution can withstand unexpected spikes in usage.
Ari Borensztein, CTO
A Virtual Sports Pub for You and Your Friends
Everyone loves watching sports at a favorite local bar or at home with friends, joking and bantering about the game. But busy lives, family obligations, logistics and COVID-19 can conspire to prevent us from doing so. Most people also gravitate towards certain sportscasters they find entertaining, and may even secretly dream of becoming a sportscaster themselves. Enter Playback.
Playback has created the future of sharing sports, giving you the power to create your own SportsCenter-like experience and build an audience. With Playback you can “be” at the game, hanging out with your best friends and others, acting like a sportscaster as you watch and talk about live sports together online — no matter where they live. It’s like making your own version of Peyton and Eli Mannings’ popular Monday Night Football TV show with guests chatting live during the game, but in this case it’s you and your buddies who get to be the sportscaster stars, share the experience together and invite others to join your audience.
Playback provides a virtual space where communities can form to stream live sports together with everyone perfectly synced up. Creators can hop on stage, deliver their own play-by-play analysis and commentary, and invite viewers for Q&A while watching the game in real-time. “Watching sports on Playback is an interactive social experience in which fans choose their favorite commentators and communities to watch with and participate in the ‘show’ directly themselves,” said Ari Borensztein, CTO of Playback. “Room moderators can choose live sports broadcasts to stream in the room, and chat with viewers and host stages where hosts and their guests can speak using their camera and microphone.”
The quality of engagement of the Playback experience is exceptionally high. “Compared to national broadcasts, people tune in longer and engage more when they’re watching with the people whose opinions they care about,” said Borensztein.
A Solution for Togetherness
Several factors sparked the creation of Playback. When COVID-19 hit, sports fans could no longer attend games in person or watch them with friends. All people could do was voraciously digest sports highlights at home, but the experience was frustrating. “Video is distributed across many platforms, making it chaotic to find highlights of all the different teams and players that you care about,” said Borensztein. “To fill the void, we tried to build a better way for people to consume sports highlights. However, we were having difficulty building traction, and the COVID sports shutdown forced us to reevaluate our product focus.”
Undaunted, Borensztein and Playback CEO RJ Halperin zeroed in on what sports fans really crave. “We focused on enabling friends and family to watch sports together in real-time,” said Borensztein. “In creating a solution, we discovered that the bigger opportunity was giving creators a podcaster-like platform through which thousands of people could listen for their perspective and interact with them too.” Playback was born.
“Playback provides its communities a host of interactive features including clips and audience analytics.”
Ari Borensztein, CTO
Bringing the Game to You
To power its ambitious game plan, Playback turned to Daily, a provider of real-time audio and video APIs. “Daily’s client SDK powers our ‘stage,’ which is one of the core features of a Playback room,” said Borensztein. “Creators commentate in real-time using audio, chat and video from Daily, and viewers can request to join the stage for Q&A and to share their takes on the game going on.” Playback customized its video chat UI by leveraging various Daily libraries including Daily-js, Daily React Native and Daily React. Even with the custom UI buildout their implementation took less than three weeks.
Borensztein and his team also use Daily to make the experience even more user-friendly. Enhancements such as ‘Studio Mode’ can spotlight a given speaker to feature. In addition, changes can be made in bandwidth settings for a particular track or to increase the quality of the video being sent. Text chat as a separate feature and screen sharing are other helpful additions.
“We realized that Creators want to do more than stream games,” said Borensztein. “Screen sharing allows them to provide a rich, unique experience for their communities. While the live event is the focal point, creators can use screen sharing to watch highlights, share sports betting media and information, and share news and analysis during breaks in the action (e.g. halftime).” Creators also often go live before the event starts or stick around after, so screen sharing provides a way to continue to entertain their audience when the game isn’t on.
Borensztein thought that adding screen sharing would absorb weeks of engineering time. To his surprise, the implementation took less than two hours thanks to Daily’s well-documented, easily extendable API. “Everything was so easy to do with Daily,” said Borensztein.
Daily Named MVP
All the cool, fun interaction afforded by Playback isn’t possible without one thing — the right video technology platform. Like most companies seeking to launch and scale a new solution, Playback faced the dilemma of finding the right platform. “With growing audiences, our Twilio-based set-up wasn’t capable of supporting our vision,” said Borensztein. “Since most providers of interactive live streaming solutions are similarly priced, we wanted a partner offering the services and technology desired that also aligned with our priorities and could support every step in our journey. Daily is that key partner.”
Several attributes stood out about Daily. “We were drawn to the quality of their call logging and analytics, including the ability to accurately see what’s happening to different participants on a given video call,” said Borensztein. “Compared to Twilio, Daily’s APIs in the SDK are much easier to work with and the documentation clearer.”
“The amount of effort that goes into building and maintaining the systems required to serve video at scale are very labor-and time-intensive. Being able to plug in Daily, and not have to worry about it or reinvent the wheel with a video chat layer, definitely saved us a lot of time and money.”
Ari Borensztein, CTO
Daily Moves the Chains
Daily has proven itself a catalyst for Playback’s growth. “Since launching our Beta product in June of 2022, we’ve grown our creator base from 20 to over 300,” said Borensztein. “In the last three months alone our user base has tripled.” Each Playback Creator Community now averages about 20,000 participant call minutes a month; three million per month in total.
The decision to partner with Daily continues to pay off. “The uptime, video playback and quality of the product has been really impressive,” said Borensztein. “Moreover, we’ve really been able to trust and rely on Daily.”
- 1400% growth in creators
- Under two hours screen sharing prototype development
- Three million + monthly participant call minutes
- Less than 3 weeks to deploy first product
- Negligible video latency with TV comparable to top major streaming platforms
- Scalability: Easy scaling without hiccups
In the coming months, Playback will implement Daily’s Cloud Recordings and Interactive Live Streaming architecture to continue to build a scalable, feature-rich experience for its creators. It also plans to add simulcast, which lets you publish your camera feed to other streaming platforms simultaneously. Additionally, Playback will continue to change the layout of its video chat going forward to give users even more capabilities and flexibility around how it’s displayed.
“The pace of Daily’s product development is incredible. Every month there’s some new helpful feature, whether it’s improved recordings or increased scale. Whenever we think we might want to do x or y, all of sudden Daily adds that feature or support for it. It really feels like Daily grows with us.”
Ari Borensztein, CTO
Playback will work closely with Daily to implement future improvements to the user experience. “In a world where streaming is increasingly fragmented and requires subscriptions across many different streaming services and apps to watch sports, Playback will develop a model to consolidate everything to make watching sports something you can easily do with like-minded people that share your passion,” said Borensztein. As Playback continues to revolutionize how fans consume and bond over sports, Daily will continue to be its ready and willing teammate.
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